Hospice funding call to support ‘crucial’ service

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A HOSPICE says it needs urgent help to be able to provide a crucial service for the dying.

The Hospice of St Francis provides free help for people in Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Amersham and the surrounding areas.

Part of that is caring for patients within their own home – 165 patients currently benefit from the service, which includes on-call care and advice on pain control.

But in a letter to its supporters, hospice director Dr Ros Taylor said: “More and more people are now asking for us to provide care in their homes.

“But there is only so much we can do. We have now reached the point where we simply don’t have the capacity to offer this vital care to all those who ask for it.

“That means we urgently need to expand this crucial service.”

The Northchurch hospice needs £7,425 each week to provide the St Francis @ Home service to all people who wish to use it.

And it also wants to recruit more specialist nurses and care assistants to expand what’s on offer.

Hospice spokesman Abbi Langan stressed that the extra funding is needed to expand the service and there is no risk of home care being stopped to those patients already receiving it.

Physiotherapy and psychological support are among the other services offered by the Spring Garden Lane hospice.

A case study circulated to hospice supporters puts the spotlight on Billy Gooding, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 56 and given 12 months to live.

He wanted to be able to die at home, and with the help of St Francis nurse Judy Hepper was able to do so at the side of his daughters and wife Karen.

Karen said: “Judy gave us care, advice and dedication. Billy would look forward to her visits and open up about some of the more difficult things we needed to think about as a family.”

For more of this story, pick up a copy of this week’s Gazette, on sale now.